Orchesis showcase reflective of dance talent

This past weekend, dancers of all types and abilities took to the stage of Brodie Hall's Alice Austin Theater in the Spring 2010 Orchesis Showcase, "Beyond the Studio Mirror" presented by the School of the Arts.

Orchesis, the largest student organization on campus, boasts about 350 members that annually put on about 20 numbers, all of which are student-choreographed. Anticipating a great show, students, staff and family members packed into the theater all three nights, resulting in sold-out shows on Friday and Saturday.

"Beyond the Studio Mirror" began with a tap trio choreographed by junior Jodi Shaw, entitled "Gotta Give 'Em a Rhythm." Despite noticeable ability in all three of the number's dancers, long solos in the middle of the dance caused a lull and detracted from what may have otherwise been a fun, upbeat start to the show.

Several lyrical dances featured throughout the performances proved to leave lasting impressions, including two large group numbers "Belief" and "Hallelujah." Choreographed by senior Marisa Hall, "Hallelujah" featured a number of seamless transitions between smaller sections and emotionally charged partner work.

"Don't Cry Out," a contemporary dance choreographed by sophomores Laura DeMarco and Sara Ertel to the Shiny Toy Guns' song, was another standout number. The dancers' mechanical movements easily transitioned into a series of jumps and turns, creating a detached yet emotional mood.

Though several routines were relatively forgettable, others stood out as fun and energetic, including "Forever," choreographed by senior Melissa Patti, and "Rewind," choreographed by juniors Lauren Aman and Bianca Gatto, which featured a medley of hit songs from the past decade.

Perhaps the most impressive number of the showcase was contemporary dance "The General" choreographed by senior Sylvia Nelson, which kicked off the second half of the show. Despite some points at which the large group of dancers was out of sync, the choreography and song choice were an almost perfect match, and the various small group divisions that were made throughout the song were executed smoothly.

By far the best costumes of the night were those worn by the dancers in the Lady Gaga tribute "Monster & Bad Romance," choreographed by junior Jessica Marsello. Decked out in red T-shirts with shoulder spikes and over-the-top face make-up, Marsello and her dancers wowed the crowd with their Gaga-esque monster movements.

The showcase also featured two groups of guest performers, the Knightline Dance Team and Geneseo Bhangra. While the Knightline dancers impressed with the precision in their kick line, the always-outstanding Indian dance crew Bhangra stunned the audience with their stamina in an almost 10-minute long routine.

Despite a bumpy start with a few rough patches along the way, "Behind the Studio Mirror" served as a fitting finale to the spring 2010 Orchesis season, resulting in a number of inspired routines that showcased a wide variety of dancers.